PSBA 2022 January/February Bulletin PSBA 2022 January/February Bulletin - Page 9

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The Art of Gathering : How We Meet and Why It Matters By Priya Parker
Keystone Quiz

For the latest in education-related news , click the Advocacy & News tab on psba . org bulletin board

The Art of Gathering : How We Meet and Why It Matters By Priya Parker

Published by Riverhead Books , 2018
Reviewed by Jackie Inouye
When we think of notable gatherings , we might imagine a concert , a holiday party or other similar event . But we often overlook the potential impact other types of meetups can have . In her book The Art of Gathering , professional facilitator Priya Parker invites readers to reexamine all types of gatherings , including the everyday , such as a workplace meeting with colleagues or a classroom full of students . Exploring why and how people gather can help hosts make meetings more memorable , and this book provides suggestions for how to do both .
Parker asserts that the first step to more meaningful interactions is to consider the purpose of the gathering – not just the category
( think : networking event , wedding ). “ When we don ’ t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather , we end up skipping too quickly to replicating old , staid formats of gathering ,” she says . “ And we forgo the possibility of creating something memorable , even transformative .”
" Gathering – the conscious bringing together of people for a reason – shapes the way we think , feel and make sense of our world ."
To that end , Parker offers multiple strategies for finding the root purpose , including “ zooming out ” or getting a high-level perspective on an event . In one example using this method , a teacher ’ s purpose moves from “ teach chemistry ” to “ give the young a lifelong relationship to the organic world ,” which opens up possibilities for what that classroom experience will be .

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Keystone Quiz

What is the Pennsylvania state bird ?
What is the lowest geographic point in the state ?
Can you name the Pennsylvania state motto ?
What percentage of residents age 25 + hold a bachelor ’ s degree or higher : 30.7 %, 31.4 % or 32.3 %?
How many total square miles of water cover the state ?
Answers 1 . Ruffed grouse 2 . Delaware River is sea level 3 . Virtue , Liberty , and Independence 4 . 32.3 % 5 . 1,312 square miles
Factors that are affected by determining a meeting ’ s purpose , such as space , location , setup and attendees ( how many and who ), are outlined in detail . The book also dives into the responsibilities of an engaged host , steering readers toward an awareness of diversity , power dynamics and making sure that hosts define expectations for attendees both before and during the gathering .
Illustrated by poignant examples from her own experience , Parker outlines how hosts can foster authenticity that encourages personal growth and mutual learning . She also discusses the art of “ good controversy ,” or that which “ helps people look more closely at what they care about .” In an educational environment where student growth and self-discovery are goals , these concepts are directly applicable .
Although some of the content in this book isn ’ t relevant to a school environment , the concepts presented can help educators and school leaders make the most of gatherings by changing how they approach them – whether a class , a professional development event for teachers , a family-focused back-to-school night or even a board meeting .

42 % of school directors serve the district they attended as a student .

- PSBA School Director Profile , 2018
January / February 2022 PSBA Bulletin 7